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  • Preventing complications (problems) after knee replacement surgery

    Your health care team will do many things to reduce your chance of a developing a complication after surgery.

    • Your blood pressure, temperature and pulse will be taken often after surgery.
    • Your surgical leg will be checked often for movement, feeling, circulation and pulse.
    • To improve circulation and strength, you will do thigh squeezes, buttock squeezes, ankle pumps, ankle circles and other exercises.
    • You will wear white elastic socks to support your muscles, promote circulation and prevent blood clots.
    • You will receive medicine that prevents blood clots.
    • You will do deep breathing, coughing exercises, and use an incentive spirometer to help your respiratory system.
    • Your dressing will be checked regularly. Your surgeon will give you instructions for how to care for your incision once you get home. If you have sutures or staples, they are usually removed at your first clinic visit after you leave the hospital.
    • You may have a small tube that's connected to a wound drain or collection container. It will draw out excess blood and fluid from the area around your incision. This small tube will be removed one to two days after surgery.
    • You will have an IV for one to two days. It is important to drink six to eight glasses of liquids each day.
    • You can begin eating your regular foods once you are ready.
    • Your inactivity and pain medicine combined can cause constipation. To help avoid this, drink plenty of liquids, eat foods with plenty of fiber and increase your activity as you can. Your surgeon will order medicine to help prevent constipation. Talk to your nurses if you have questions or concerns.
    • For your safety, your therapist will evaluate your ability to toilet by yourself. He or she may recommend that a member of your health care team stay in the bathroom with you or stand just outside the door.

    If you have questions about these care activities, ask a member of your health care team.